Some far away lands are just a name in the news. Places known for their wars, their dictators, their struggles. The Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein, the Holocaust of Halabja, Desert Storm, Nasiriyah. Other lands live on the pages of history school books. Babylon and its hanging gardens, the seven wonders of the World, the richness of Baghdad, the development of agriculture, the fertile lands between Tigris and Euphrates. These very same places may turn suddenly familiar one day, as you meet someone who called them home.
These are pictures taken in Iraq, in the last few months.
As the new Iraqi government still struggles to meet the needs of its citizens, it now faces the challenge of defending its borders in a very volatile region. Although all American troops are scheduled to leave by the end of 2011, the U.S. military will continue limited counterterrorism training with Iraqi forces beyond the end of the year, and about 16,000 U.S. embassy personnel will remain in Iraq — many of them civilian contractors handling security. Collected here are recent images of Iraq — its people, the U.S. draw-down, and some of the continuing aftermath of the war.
In the picture below, Saadia Hamid bathes her two-year old twin daughters Fatema Abbas, left, Zainab Abbas, right, in Baghdad, on July 23, 2011. More pictures and credits: The Atlantic – Nearing the End of the Iraq War.